May 12, 2020

New Case Rate in Reopened States Has Climbed for Weeks

In U.S. states and territories that have partially reopened, new case rates have on average been trending upwards for weeks.

The data underscores Dr. Anthony Fauci’s warning that the consequences of states reopening too soon “could be really serious” in his testimony before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee this morning.

With most states now scheduled to be partially reopened by May 18th, GPG grouped states and territories by status (partially open, soon to reopened, shut down) and examined their case rates. The only group that showed an ongoing trend of increasing daily cases was the partially reopened group.

Those states that remain shut down show a weeks-long trend of declining cases.

This data does not suggest all partially reopened states are exhibiting increasing cases, but the rate of combined new cases in those states is increasing.

Social Studies

What can we learn from the governors meeting the moment on Twitter?

State governments are increasingly relying on social media to communicate with their constituents quickly and directly.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo gets high marks and high engagement, with six of the top ten retweeted tweets among state governors and governments. And nearly 60,000 people retweeted Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s tweet telling the Trump administration “you said you stand with Michigan—prove it” by sending PPE. Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine has tweeted in relation to COVID-19 almost 800 times.

What are they doing right? Here are some tips we gleaned from their approaches.

  • Tell your own story and constituents’ stories. Give constituents an inside look at how state government is working on their behalf. New Jersey Gov. Murphy has often paid tribute and tweeted many times about the lives of constituents who have died from COVID-19.
  • Update tips for staying safe. Continue to share the latest safety guidance, as Cuomo did.
  • Use eye-catching visuals as often as possible. Videos of governors speaking directly to constituents are ideal, like this one from Gov. Whitmer. Infographics like this one from Gov. DeWine, images and press conference clips also perform well.
  • Respond to constituents when they have productive questions or content. It’s a way for governors to show their human side.

COVID-19 By The Numbers

Reopening U.S. Companies Look to Asia Locations

Major companies are reopening their U.S. locations with learnings from a friendly source – their own outposts in Asia.

Last month Apple opened its lone store in South Korea, where the company is following a strict set of guidelines that emphasize social distancing, temperature checks for employees and customers, and other protocols designed to minimize movement.

The iPhone-maker has also created an instructional video on reopening practices that’s being circulated to other Apple locations.

Ford Motor Co. has also said it will use safety protocols that have proven effective in its China facilities to steer its U.S. reopening plans. They include:

  • Physical barriers between workers on the job
  • Six feet of space in break areas
  • No-touch doors
  • Thermal scanning of all employees.

The automaker has also produced a 64-page playbook detailing its guidelines for a safe return to the job.

And though Disney opened its Shanghai Disneyland theme park just yesterday, House of Mouse executives told investors last week lessons from that location could serve as a guide for U.S. operations.

While Chinese officials have limited the park’s capacity to about 30 percent, CEO Bob Chapek told the Associated Press they’re purposefully opening “far below that just to have our training wheels on with our new procedures and processes.”

Capital Recap

Earlier today, House Democrats released their proposal for a $3 trillion phase four economic relief package, known as the ‘‘Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act’’ or the ‘‘HEROES Act.’’ Highlights include:

  • $875 billion for state and local governments;
  • $599 million for implementation of additional direct payments to individuals;
  • $7.6 billion to support expanded health care services for underserved populations;
  • $4.745 billion to expand COVID-19 related research at NIH and at academic institutions nationwide;
  • $25 billion for the U.S. Postal Service, plus language providing additional protections to Postal workers;
  • $10 billion to support anticipated increases in participation in food assistance programs
  • $1.5 billion to provide funding for WiFi hotspots and connected devices for students;
  • $3.6 billion to states for contingency planning and preparation for elections for Federal office; and
  • $75 billion for homeowners struggling to afford their housing.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) intends to convene the House Friday to vote on the bill.

The legislation has little chance of passing the Senate and is largely viewed as a starting point for Democrats as they head into negotiations with Senate Republicans and the Administration. A final agreement on a phase four relief package is not expected to come together for several weeks or even longer as Republicans continue to insist on pausing on another package until the full impact of the CARES bill is known.

The House will consider a rule change to allow members to vote by proxy.